sa Sound Arts vol.5

XEBEC SoundCulture Membership Magazine

artist's view

SA on Artists' Viewpoints and Aesthetics

Caparty Vol. 1 Report
HARA Hisako (C.A.P.)

C.A.P. (the Conference on Art and Art Projects), which includes many contemporary artists, has been introduced in SA a number of times and there are probably many of you with an interest in it. At the one-day art party, "Caparty Vol. 1," held at Xebec on October 28, a symposium on the "Former Foreign Settlement Art Center Project" was given. C.A.P. member HARA Hisako reports on what happened at the symposium and the party.

There were lots of people who made their way to Kobe on Saturday, October 28, despite the sudden cold wave. This, of course, was to participate in Caparty, a word coined by combining "C.A.P." with "party." Since both C.A.P. and Acte Kobe have been introduced in previous issues, I'll skip that part and get right to the event.

This one-day art party consisted of three parts. First, proceeding in order, there was a slide installation, "Pachi Pachi 1000," in the hall. One thousand slides collected from 1,000 members of the public were projected onto the floor using 12 projectors mounted on the ceiling. At an unhurried speed, a relaxed space was created as images from a diversity of photographic expressions segued from one into another against a subdued background of sound . With the participation of the artists who organized Acte Kobe 1 and 2 in Marseilles and Bern, there were the more than 1,000 slides, we received for the installation making it impossible to show them all in a hall. From 2 to 8pm, some walked around the hall, and some squatted down and waiting attentively for their pictures to be shown--there were people enjoying the event in lots of different ways.
In the second part, a symposium entitled, "Talking About the Art Center," was held for two hours beginning at 3pm. As this was the first time C.A.P. had held an event publicly, C.A.P. representative, SUGIYAMA Tomoko began by introducing the group and gave a presentation to explain the group's proposal for an art center project. This continued with a group of guest panelists involved with the project speaking on other aspects of the plan. The "Former Foreign Settlement Art Center Project" calls not for the construction of an art museum in the area, but for changing the area itself into an art museum.
Even prior to the earthquake, we felt that there was something wrong with the present form of art museum as well as the the art- and culture-related plans being thought up by government agencies. Our discussions centered on how an already existing space in the former foreign settlement where Sugiyama's atlier is located might be used, even if guerrilla tactics were required to do so. The former foreign settlement is one of the oldest and best places to find what remains of the Kobe spirit. But even before we could begin, approximately a third of the area's buildings were destroyed in the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Rather than take part in one of the more shortsighted charity events for reconstruction, we thought we would propose the plan we had already come up with as C.A.P. on a wider scale--in the hope that it might have even a slight effect on the direction that city planning will take in the future. Through the development of three principles: 1. To express the present; 2. To spread art and culture throughout the area; and 3. To create an attractive and refined townscape; we believe it will be possible to produce a new town filled with intelligent stimulation that retains the original character of the area.

As the expression of these principles, we are working toward the foundation of the Former Foreign Settlement Art Center (tentative name) as the nucleus of the project. Management of the project will be undertaken here based on information and materials gathered from art facilities and museums, universities and networks--both domestic and foreign. In addition, art courses open to the public and art education programs will be created, and a bulletin providing information on these as well as other activities will be published. To realize the second principle, we hope to utilize space in the most attractive way to bring out the true charm, and rediscover the hidden charm, of the area. The art center will plan and develop exhibitions, live performances, lectures, film festivals, resource centers, workshops, artist-in -residence programs, and cafes; it is our plan that art spaces which serve as places of interchange between people will be spread throughout the area. In addition, while giving ample consideration to the appearance of the area, we have an interest in attracting foreign organizations to help bring additional value by strengthening the original flavor of the area. We have already begun to introduce our plans to the appropriate governmental bodies. As part of the restoration plans being undertaken by Kobe City and Hyogo Prefecture following the earthquake, thought is being given to an increase in the number of facilities where people can come into contact with the arts and culture. However, there are a huge number of other projects that must first be begun, and arts-related projects will not be realized until sometime in the future.

The first guest speaker at the symposium was INOUE Akihiko, former member of the administrative committee of the "Free Factory," a unique art space: There is an owner of a nine-story building in the central part of Okayama City who zealously promotes modern art. Because the building was going to be rebuilt, the tenants gradually began to leave, and for close to a year until the building was torn down, it functioned as the Free Factory, a production site for "factory members" and an exhibition space. It was run without any so- called "center;" and the space was open twenty-four hours as both are workspace and art work. The staff also held various positions, and the fact that both the audience and staff themselves were able to change was an important part of the project. A diverse range of possibilities were created by the space, all the more so for not having a specified purpose.

YAMANO Shingo talked about his experience as the secretary-general of the executive committee of "Museum City Tenjin," an event held once every two years in the Tenjin district of Fukuoka City: The project began in 1990, and was held for the third time in 1994. In 1990, just at the end of the bubble economy, we were able to collect about 40 million yen in corporate sponsorships; now fund raising has become much more difficult. We have to negotiate with the artist and the sponsor, or the person from whom we rent the space, or apply to the police for a permit to put on an exhibition in a public place. And we have to be careful about any visual expression that might strike the viewer as unpleasant. The Tenjin district is an area where almost no older architecture remains. But by utilizing the space in front of one of the Meiji Period, western-style buildings that have somehow been left standing, an artist can do a show that leads to a reexamination of the area's charm--there is a special joy in discovering the town anew.

SERIZAWA Takashi, director of "P3 art and environment," explained the evolution of this alternative art space beneath a Buddhist temple: The first project we did was a three-month workshop concerned with Buckminster FULLER because I was convinced of the importance of creating something with the participants. Later, through a show we did with the German artist, Ingo GUETHER, P3 came to be defined as a space that didn't only display something, but as a production facility.

OGIWARA Yasuko, who has been involved with setting up a number of artist-in- residence projects, told about the difficulty of actually making them happen: What city administrators are thinking about is whether the local area is going to get something back from the activities that are undertaken in an artist-in- residence program. It isn't an easy thing to communicate directly with the local area. It is essential to continue to experiment with different activities until various exchanges can be carried out through art. The "Arcus Project Pilot Program" that is beginning in Ibaragi Prefecture is among the projects that have actually been developed in this way. KATO Taneo, of Asahi Breweries, offered a viewpoint different from any of the other speakers. He pointed out that to realistically promote art and cultural projects, thought should not only be given to the people one is trying to reach, but that proper marketing is also necessary.

Since we had run out of time, each speaker was asked to make a final comment. These were as follows:
Inoue: "Rather than going out to see 'museum art,' how about taking care of the small pleasure of interacting with other people?" Yamano: "The problem is fund-raising in regional cities."
Kato: "I want to destroy the hierarchy of culture. It is important to discover more open systems, and meaningless to deny access to all but a select few."
Serizawa: "Don't dwell on the type of facility, work on planning ways for people to come into contact with each other. This requires an ability to manage the place and nurture the personnel that lie at the heart of it."
Ogiwara: "The act of assembling people in itself is an important activity."

During the symposium, there was a driving performance by the art group, RG, that was being given outside, which only those people lucky enough to get a numbered ticket were able to enjoy. As the party began, there was "anti-gravity" music played by the band, Johnny, followed by a kotsuzumi (Noh percussion) performance by HISADA Shunichiro. In this relaxed atmosphere, people continued conversing throughout. From as far as Saitama, Nagoya, and Shikoku, more than 360 people took part, and as our first attempt, I'm proud to say that it was quite a success.

Another Acte Kobe event has been scheduled for January 27, 1996, and I look forward to being able to meet everyone again at Xebec.

C.A.P. Members:

SUGIYAMA Tomoko: C.A.P. representative, artist, part-time instructor at Kyoto City University of Arts and Music
AKAMATSU Tamame: Artist, instructor at Kyoto City University of Arts and Music
ISHIHARA Tomoaki: Artist, part-time instructor at Saga Art College
EMI Yoichi:Designer, representative of Diamond Inc.
TANABE Katsufumi: Artist, part-time instructor at Ashiya Art and Technology school
TSUBAKI Noboru: Artist
TOWATA Masayuki: Artist, instructor at Kyoto City University of Arts and Music
FUJIMOTO Yukio: Musician
MASUDA Makiko: Artist
MATSUI Chie: Artist
MATSUO Naoki: Artist, instructor at Kobe Art Institute
HARA Hisako: Staff of Kyoto University of Art and Design

The contents of this issue:
interviews VOLANS
Ocean of Sound
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